Sunday 08.04.2013 New York Times Digest

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1. The Trauma of Being Alive

“There is no way to be alive without being conscious of the potential for disaster.”

2. Other Agencies Clamor for Data N.S.A. Compiles

“The recent disclosures of agency activities by its former contractor Edward J. Snowden have led to widespread criticism that its surveillance operations go too far and have prompted lawmakers in Washington to talk of reining them in. But out of public view, the intelligence community has been agitated in recent years for the opposite reason: frustrated officials outside the security agency say the spy tools are not used widely enough.”

3. Download: Robert Mankoff

“There are some problems our minds just can’t solve, which ties into humor. Rationality doesn’t give us everything we need. There are many ways of understanding the world, and one way is the sort of irrational, rational way humor provides.”

4. Washington Riddle: What Is ‘Top Secret’?

“When far too much information gets classified, nothing is really classified.”

5. I Am TOM. I Like to TYPE. Hear That?

“I use a manual typewriter — and the United States Postal Service — almost every day. My snail-mail letters and thank-you notes, office memos and to-do lists, and rough — and I mean very rough — drafts of story pages are messy things, but the creating of them satisfies me like few other daily tasks.”

6. ‘The Bruce Lee Legacy Collection’ Is a Kick

“Perhaps the greatest tribute to Lee’s originality is that he became a star in spite of his movies rather than because of them.”

7. Faces of Those Who Pick Faces

“The director, Richard Donner, was not familiar with Reeve and kept searching as Mr. Stalmaster placed Reeve’s head shot on the top of a pile of photos at each casting session, he said. Every day, it ended up back at the bottom until the casting director got his way.”

8. Following the Money

“To help students make informed decisions about whether it’s worth paying a premium for a certain college or degree, advocates and entrepreneurs have created online tools to compare graduates’ income.”

9. Class Warfare Along Partygoer Lines

What happened to the working-class students you studied?

On our floor, not one graduated from the university within five years.

10. Confessions of an Application Reader

“Holistic admissions raises many questions about who gets selected, how and why.”

11. Testing, Testing

“Ambitious high school students are no longer content with just one college admissions test. Not a single college requires it, but many applicants to the nation’s most selective colleges and universities are taking — and retaking — both the ACT and the SAT.”

12. One Book Out

“Sometimes, my husband and I try to select books we want to jettison — otherwise how can we buy more? I mean, a house is for living in, right? We have to have space for beds, chairs, a table and some kitchen tools and appliances. (I guess we could buy another house for the books.) So we try to find books to dump. My husband will present me with a stack he has taken hours to curate. ‘These could go,’ he’ll say, casually. I’ll look through them. Except for the copy of one of our bibles, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, by Richard Hofstadter, they will exclusively be my books. I can’t part with them. And the same thing happens when I do the triage.”

13. What’s an Idea Worth?

“The notion of charging by units of time was popularized in the 1950s, when the American Bar Association was becoming alarmed that the income of lawyers was falling precipitously behind that of doctors (and, worse, dentists). The A.B.A. published an influential pamphlet, ‘The 1958 Lawyer and His 1938 Dollar,’ which suggested that the industry should eschew fixed-rate fees and replicate the profitable efficiencies of mass-production manufacturing. Factories sold widgets, the idea went, and so lawyers should sell their services in simple, easy-to-manage units. The A.B.A. suggested a unit of time — the hour — which would allow a well-run firm to oversee its staff’s productivity as mechanically as a conveyor belt managed its throughput. This led to generations of junior associates working through the night in hopes of making partner and abusing the next crop. It was adopted by countless other service professionals, including accountants.”

14. Stop Blaming Jaws!

“It’s increasingly strange to blame Jaws for spawning the modern blockbuster, given how little Steven Spielberg’s esoteric, character-driven story has in common with today’s action extravaganzas.”

One response to “Sunday 08.04.2013 New York Times Digest

  1. #3 my way of putting it : “logic isn’t logical!!”

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